Windows 7, Bing Innovation Shows Microsoft Learning from Adversity
News Analysis: For many years adversity was a stranger to Microsoft. Its applications and operating systems allowed it to grow at a breakneck pace. But in the last several years, product design mistakes, missed opportunities, aggressive competition and a global economic recession showed Microsoft it had to change its ways. The promise of Windows 7 and Bing demonstrate that Microsoft is finally learning from adversity.It wasn't long ago that Microsoft was a monolithic organization that was content to stay the course, maintain market share, and count all the cash it brought in. For a while, it worked for the company. Its Windows division was booming. The enterprise was firmly planted in Microsoft's corner. It was a glorious time for the company.
But then it all fell apart. It all started when Google captured dominating market share online and put Microsoft back on its heels. With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft experienced some of the worst performance in years. Companies opted to stick with Windows XP or, in some cases, switch to Mac OS X. Even consumers were unwilling to move to Microsoft's latest operating system. Apple capitalized and captured some market share away from the company. In one fell swoop, Microsoft was reeling.
Determining what Microsoft would do to combat those very real, very dangerous issues was unclear at the time. Would it attempt to use its power and size to muscle its way back to the top? Would it cower and lose its position in the marketplace? Or would it innovate to reclaim its position through high-quality services users hadn't come to expect from the software giant?
At this point, I think the answer is clear: innovation was Microsoft's path to reclaimed dominance.
Undoubtedly, that discussion must start with Windows. Windows Vista was a nightmare for Microsoft. It was everything it wasn't supposed to be. With its release, Microsoft promised big things for the operating system. It said that it would be the most capable version of Windows to-date. But when it all was said and done, a much different story was told. In Microsoft terms, Vista was a failure.
But rather than attempt to improve Vista or push it on end users, Microsoft did something rather special with Windows: it improved it beyond what we had come to expect from the company. Windows 7, which is scheduled to hit store shelves on October 22, sports some of the most innovative and compelling features we have seen from Microsoft in years.